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Embassytown Hardcover – 17 May 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 17 May 2011
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books; First Edition edition (17 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345524497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345524492
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,786,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

PRAISE FOR CHINA MIeVILLE Kraken "The stakes [are] driven high and almost anything can happen. The reader is primed for a memorable payoff, and Mieville more than delivers."--"San Francisco Chronicle" The City & The City "If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler's love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble . . . "The City & The City.""--"Los Angeles Times " Perdido Street Station "Compulsively readable . . . impossible to expunge from memory."--"The Washington Post Book World" The Scar "A fantastic setting for an unforgettable tale . . . memorable because of Mieville's vivid language [and] rich imagination."--"The Philadelphia Inquirer "Iron Council "A masterwork . . . a story that pops with creativity."--"Wired " Un Lun Dun "Endlessly inventive . . . [a] hybrid of "Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz "and "The Phantom Tollbooth.""--Salonk." -"New Y -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Book Description

The enthralling new novel from the award-winning author of Kraken and The City & The City -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.

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By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'd been looking forward to this for a while. It is at first sight something of a departure from Miéville's last two books, in being, perhaps more overtly "science fictiony" that them (which will maybe please some of those who didn't like The City & the City and Kraken?)

Set on a human colony, on an alien planet, right at the end of everywhere, it is narrated by Avice, a cool-headed space sailor who has returned to show her new husband her very odd home world. The aliens whose world Avice was born on are very.. alien, something Miéville conveys well by not describing them. It's not just their physiology that is strange, or their technology of "biorigging", making buildings, machines, everything from live flesh. The oddest thing is their language - or as it is rendered, Language. It would be a shame, and spoil some of the careful revelation that Mieville uses to draw his reader in, to say much about how it is produced or what humans need to do to speak it, but one feature he makes clear from the start is that the natives of this planet - the Host - cannot lie. Their Language does not allow it. So when a cult of would-be liars springs up, it is a matter of concern, and the repercussions of this seem to be shaping up to the climax of the book - until Miéville deftly twists his plot and everything changes. The crisis we thought was coming is suddenly unimportant, and a much worse threat arises.
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Format: Hardcover
This feels like the penultimate draft of what could have been a really good book, but it isn't quite 'there' yet. It's difficult to get into, and feels as if a couple of different attempts at starting the novel have been integrated, not wholly successfully, into what we have here. Is it going to be about immer? Is it going to be about the Festival of Lies? As ever, it's a hugely intelligent and interesting work, I just wish, in fact, that Mieville would write more slowly instead of producing a book a year as he is at the moment.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book a world is created then torn apart. In this respect it reminded me a bit of Perdido Street Station, which I found more unnerving (terrifying, giant moths) and in the end more melancholy. The major difference is that Embassytown is a far more fragile settlement, it's a human settlement that relies entirely on the cooperation and technology of the native alien Hosts (Ariekes). The story is told entirely in first person by Avice Benner Cho, a woman from Embassytown who was one of few inhabitants to leave and go out to other planets. The first part alternates between present events and flashbacks so that Avice and the world she grew up in are introduced to the reader.

Once we are familiar with Embassytown and how it works -its links with the Host aliens, its bubble of breathable air, its upper class of Ambassadors (fully identical, linked, doppels/twins)- a paradigm shift happens and everything goes to pot. The society that was built up faces a major catastrophe and descends into desperation and barbarism and war. The book is about the people who carry on trying to keep things running in the face of likely destruction. It's about how there will still be factions and politicking even in the face of disaster.
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Format: Hardcover
I'd best get this first bit out the way and say that to try and describe `Embassytown' to anyone who hasn't read it yet it going to be hard work. Not because the book is completely flummoxing, though I will admit I had a pen and notepad to hand for the first 100 pages or so but that could simply be me, but because there are so many strands and themes and, well, `things' encompassed in it that to try to define its 432 pages in one set of thoughts is going to be pretty tough. I could simply say that I am not the biggest sci-fi fan and yet I finished it and I really rather liked it, but that wouldn't be enough would it. So here goes...

In another world, Areika the home of many life forms, we follow the story of Avice. Avice has returned to her homeland of Embassytown after spending many years as an immerser in the `immer', a substance or lack of substance that can send you from star to star "the sea of space and time below the everyday". As she returns at the bequest of her new husband Scile, a man of language, this leads her to look back from her childhood onwards and an event with The Hosts, a species who cannot lie, that made her literally become a story in the Areika consciousness that helps them bend the truth in the future. However on her return she finds that the homeland she knows is changing under the new rule of the Ambassador EzRa and something sinister has started and that something truly awful lies ahead, but in order to stop it Avice is going to have to do something that is almost impossible.

That is possibly the easiest, though by no means best, way of trying to describe the way the book starts. It's hard to say more without giving away too much plot or discussing how Mieville throws in some unexpected, and often rather weird, twists as the book moves on.
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